I’m very, very near full term now, and one of the things I’m looking forward to after giving birth is traveling again. I pretty much stopped traveling once I reached my third trimester, and I’ve been an insufferable whiner about it. I have major cabin fever/wanderlust! I decided to reminisce the other day about some of my favorite holidays with Mr. Feather, and amongst all the great memories I was also reminded of some of the many mistakes I’ve made while traveling. Here I’d like to share some of mine….I’d love to hear yours!
Not reading the guidebook – especially under the part labeled “scams”.
I know it’s super “newbie tourist” to buy guidebooks and actually refer to them in public while traveling…but hey, usually when I go somewhere new – it’s as a tourist! I actually love guidebooks and will usually purchase one before a new destination. They’re relatively cheap, and fun reading on a plane. That is…when I actually read them. The first (and only) time we ever went to Thailand, I brought a nice big fat Lonely Planet edition along. Which unfortunately, I never got around to reading. Which resulted in me not being aware of several massive scams to avoid that Thailand is infamous for.
I ended up falling victim to one of the biggest ones out there- the infamous Gem Scam (curse my weakness for jewelry!). Luckily I didn’t end up buying anything, and Mr. Feather and I actually enjoyed our free Tuk Tuk ride around the city and our conversations with “strangers” about all the great jewelry deals out there. The level of organization and deception was actually quite impressive. But it could have gone a lot worse…and if we’d only taken the time to read basic warnings, we could have saved quite a few hours on one of our precious days in Bangkok!
Not packing at least one “nicer” outfit.
I am a bit crazy about packing and before each trip always try to maximize the number of outfits I’ll get out of the items I’m bringing, so that I can travel as lightly as possible. That usually means items like heels, and fancy dresses, are first to go. But I’ve learned over time that it’s always good to have a least the components of a “nicer” outfit – one you can go out to a nice bar in, or have a formal dinner. When we were in Sydney, some local friends invited us to dinner at Quay – a fancy schmancy restaurant overlooking the waterfront, probably the highest end in Sydney. While looking at the menu, I realized that I really had packed no shoes or clothes that were appropriate to dine in there. I was pretty sure that I could still get away with the best items I had (one of the advantages of being female), but I knew I would be uncomfortable.
The same thing also happened to me in Hong Kong some years ago…I was there briefly for work, and got invited to go out to a very nice event. I had packed absolutely nothing, so ended up in a Vince sweater and skinny jeans and flats, while everyone else was dolled up and gorgeous. It was a missed opportunity to have fun getting dressed up!
Nowadays, I’ll take a look at the footwear I’ve packed, and try to include at least one nicer top, or a pretty dress. These pieces don’t take up lots of space and give a lot more flexibility for events/places you can go. Who doesn’t want to go out on the town in a new cool place?
Taking poor care of myself and getting sick…right before a trip.
I’m a proud germaphobe, but for some reason, I always think I’m impervious to actually getting sick. Honestly I don’t know why I’m so confident in my immune system, since I don’t ever exercise. Anyway – on our very first Japan trip, I found myself sick as a dog right before. I thought I’d recover on the plane, but of course the journey just made it worse. It’s absolutely miserable to be sick on a plane. The air is super dry, you’re never as comfortable as in your own bed, and the tissues are murder on your nose. As a result, I ended up getting even sicker, and thus spent out first few days in Japan recovering in the hotel room. What an absolute waste, and plus I couldn’t even taste all the delicious food (though ramen is pretty great when you have a cold).
When we went back to Japan earlier this year, I learned my lesson and was an absolute anti germ/sickness vigilante right before! I made sure to avoid all sick, sneezy people and ate well and took care of myself. That way, I had lots of energy and was in good health when we arrived back in Japan!
Those are my biggest mistakes (that I can recall) when traveling…what are yours? Let’s all learn from each other!